Delta Global Upgrade Certificates & Regional Certificates – my 1st experience redeeming!

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When it comes to deals, I jump first and ask questions later. This one turned out to be just EPIC in my book and along the way I got to test how hard (it was EZ) it was to redeem my Delta Choice Benefits for 2015 that is 4 GU & 4 RU certs all for one trip. Here is what happened.

Unless you are just finding this post via a Google search months from today you know about the amazing fare sales from many locations in the USA to Scandinavia over the weekend. I saw LAX to GOT (Los Angeles to Gothenburg, Sweden) for just $633 all-in round trip. That, dear readers, is an amazing price and deal.

But I live in the South Bend Indiana area. I would have to “position” that is, fly to LAX to start the trip. This is where my regional upgrades came into play, but let’s not get ahead of things here.

The first thing I did was call Delta to see if Global upgrade space was open for flights the days I wanted this fall from LAX to GOT. I had already booked low level business class award seats from home to Sweden on the perfect dates but I would earn NO Skymiles on an award ticket and until 2015 I want to earn all I can and “bank” points to spend in 2015 and onward. The Delta medallion rep found seats for me that were GU cert open on the outbound date I wanted, but only one day later or earlier than I wanted to come home. Earlier worked since I would have to fly back home the next day anyway from LAX. She held the seats and I then jumped online and redeemed the Diamond Choice Benefits for 2015. She refreshed her screen, saw the certs, and immediately applied them to the reservation and ticketed. Done. It was that easy. I was stunned.

Some more bits. I could have played with dates and space and picked the LAX-JFK-AMS-GOT route to get the “BE” or business elite service from LAX to JFK that is a MUCH better experience than the rest of Delta’s domestic 1st class service, but that would cut down on how much time we would get to sleep over the water so we chose to go LAX-MSP-AMS-GOT to get more rest. All of this will be in 1st class or business class other than the 1 hour hop from AMS to GOT as picking business for that bit would have blown the fare price way up. Not worth it for that bit.

So now I have two tickets, business class upgraded, for just $633 each or $1,266 all-in. Just sweet! But how to get to LAX. I had a nice $400 bump voucher from my last mileage run and found a sweet fare from SBN to LAX for just over $400 each. It was in coach, but let’s see how hard the RU certs are to use. I went ahead and booked what I found as I had 24 hours to cancel and play with the flights. I then called Delta. They could not find RU space on the flights I had but did find space on ones a few hours later in the day both ways. That works. I went to redeem the certs and was told it can take up to 5 hours. Ugg. But the rep reissued the tickets for those flights with space and said just call back and then apply the certs. Can do. I checked my email for the notification that the certs were issued like a rabid dog. About 3 hours later they were there. A 5 minute call to Delta and upgrades were in place. Sweet!

Now the numbers for this EPIC run. I am a Diamond Medallion and my wife Gold. By flying out to California and then to Sweden and back, the two of us TOTAL will earn 78,069 Skymiles flying in 1st class (but paid coach price). We will both also earn 17,498 MQMs. Stunning. The all-in price for both of us both tickets is just $1,851! In CPM or cost per miles terms that is just over 5 cents. Wow! I value my Skymiles at 2 cents each so we earned $1,561 worth of Skymiles. That brings this little adventure down to just $290 in my book. That just works!

To sum up, refreshingly, I found the new GU & RU certs very simple to use. Sure I had to be a little flexible on days, flights and times, but not in an overly restrictive manner. Yes, we are stuck with Delta metal to upgrade but to be able to upgrade just about any fare class is the best. When you compare what these tickets would have cost, $10,152 vs $1,851 (plus the $400 voucher so $2,251). Still 23% of retail is impressive to me and one more reason that Diamond Medallion status has real value for flyers!- René

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  1. Given that there are plenty of readers who fall into the “newbie” category (to various degrees), you might want to explain up front that these are part of the Diamond package of benefits rather than save that for the last sentence?

  2. Sweet! Thanks for walking us through this. I’ve been PM for the past 5 years, this year I’m going for DM.

  3. Do you really earn the skymiles for First even if you are using the upgrade? I thought the skymiles earned are based on the fare purchased. Specifically, at 78,069 skymiles are you totaling the miles based on the distance and your status and NOT including the first class fare bonus that Delta gives to premium tickets? Thanks.

  4. @Chris – no I earn in the class I paid, so coach, but since I am flying all the way from South Bend and then to Sweden I get a bunch. Plus my medallion status helps me get even more!

  5. So gratifying to read about your creative ticket crafting ! CTC (poetic license !)
    I’m trying to return to PM for 2014
    Booked a JFK to Oslo MR dec 6
    Going to Got August 24-31
    ANC MR and more 🙂
    You are inspiring to gather miles to burn in 2015 !

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